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Let me tell you how this works, Courteney Cox

Dear Ms. No-Longer-Cox-Arquette:

Twitter doesn’t normally entice me to click on stuff. Because Twitter has become mostly awful. But when a tweet tells me that you were on national TV guzzling a bowl of Ranch dressing, I am compelled. I feel this way about most famous people when condiments are involved.

Of course, the clip turned out to be the old bait-and-switch, in the typical celebrity-drinks-salad-dressing-but-really-discusses-her-dating-life sort of way to which we’re all so sadly accustomed. And you said you hadn’t dated since your marriage ended. You seemed enervated by the prospect of dating. Discouraged. “Groove”-less. And you ended the clip by saying, “I’m not sure how this is going to work.”

I know how this is going to work: You and I should step out.

I’m getting ahead of myself, I know. But I’m here to tell you: I understand. Dating is like Twitter, in that it, too, is mostly awful. But in both cases, you can be smart and filter out the jerks, the yelling, and the links to inane morning talk shows. And one of the best filters is seeing the person across the table do away with pointless facades. That’s the great thing about dating in your 40s: We know it’s all crap, and we don’t have time for it. We need to get on with this already, because we are halfway dead.

When you’re dating at 40+, you can skip to the nitty-gritty. Whip out your baggage and see if it’s compatible. Talk about stuff you like, but more reverently, because you take the trouble to make room for it in your busy life. Talk about how single-parenthood sucks, how you miss your kids when they’re gone. No specific bitching about the ex, though. If you’re still doing that, you’re not ready.

I get the idea of how you must feel. You’re Courteney Cox, for Pete’s sake. You don’t just go up to the woman who gave Alex P. Keaton a heart and ask her for a date.

Well, I am. And to break the ice, here are a few things about me:

I’m a fan, but I’m not a fanboy. People will always remember you for the “Dancing in the Dark” video, or Friends, or this new show you’re doing that I don’t much care for (because the men come off as sort of douchey and dunderheaded). They’ll have liked you in the Scream films, or the Longest Yard remake. For me, you’ll always be the Dolphins exec who saw Ace Ventura as the raging loon he is and still fell for him so believably. Top-shelf thespianism, that.

I’m not in show business, nor do I aspire to be. I have read Adventures in the Screen Trade and The Kid Stays In The Picture, though. That stuff is gold.

We’re age-appropriate. You and I were born 15 months apart. People will see us together and think, “Wow. Look at those people who seem to be at the same station in life! He is in no way one of those gross arrested adolescents who date children, and she is absolutely not shamelessly gold-digging a near-death geezer OR being a cougar, like on that show, of which he is clearly not among the target demographic.”

We have some shared experience. We got married at around the same time in life, we split at about the same time, and your daughter is the same age as my younger son. I get the gig, the weird hybrid lifestyle of being a single person trying to remember what hedonism is, and an engaged parent prying golf balls out of the toilet.

I don’t care about your wealth. I’ve never learned how to handle a lot of money, and I’m too old to start now. I come from hard-working, frugal New Englanders who hem and haw about whether to replace the old shovel every winter. I have pants older than most college students, and that’s the way I like it.

I love my kids. And cooking. I’m learning to speak Italian, because I want to retire there. I’m a good listener, and I am attentive to detail (especially when people spell their names with another “e”). My ideal night involves Scrabble, a fireplace, and a good Sonoma pinot noir. But I’m also horribly near-sighted, balding, and I don’t buy gifts until the absolute last minute.

Oh, and when we go to dinner? I’m paying. Order all the Ranch dressing you want. (Only Hidden Valley, OF COURSE.)

I might even buy new pants.

Read more of Doug’s writing on Laid-Off Dad.
Follow Doug on Twitter @LOD.
Meet Doug at the Dad 2.0 Summit next weekend!

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